The awards were judged by a panel of experts including celebrity jeweller Ann Middleton and President of the Gemmological Association Katrina Marchioni.
At just five years old, EverettBrookes has been able to grow rapidly by introducing innovations to the market, handcrafting jewellery for over 10,000 customers using traditional tools in full view at the firm’s Gawler Place workshop.
Engagement rings are the most popular item, say founders Ian Brookes and David Everett. Each ring is made from nothing to the finished product, with couples involved in the whole process, from design to manufacture. The master jewellers invite the couple to make their own engagement bands, under supervision, handling tools used by the jewellery trade for over 1 thousand years.
“We invite the guys to be involved and tell their own story about making their engagement ring,” says Ian. “It’s a great experience for us and adds to the romance of the occasion. They are intimately involved not just in the design process but in part of the manufacture of their rings.”
Not only are the rings guaranteed forever, satisfaction is guaranteed.
“If you or your partner don’t like the ring, we will make it again for nothing,” Ian said. “Our customers become evangelists for what we do.”
Ian and David have known each other since they were 17 (in the 1980s) when they started out working for a necklace manufacturer. Both had a fascination for the true craft of jewellery making.
“Even then, traditional jewellery apprenticeships were rare unless you were part of a family business,” David said. “Now it is a dying art and to have a jeweller on premise is almost unheard of. You won’t find a jeweller at Tiffany’s any more, unless you’re at the New York store.”
As they proceeded through their careers, working for some of Adelaide’s top jewellery families, they remained friends, watching as the trade veered towards mass production, with most of the jewellery available in Adelaide today factory-made and imported from overseas.
It wasn’t till six years ago that they discussed their love of traditional methods and decided that they would go ahead to found EverettBrookes.
In their five years in business, they have lost none of their passion, if anything their love for craftsmanship has grown.
“Our customers say they choose us because we really care about getting the perfect ring for them,” Ian said. “And we have the joy of working on what are effectively works of art every day.”
Along with every type of gold and other precious metals they have introduced novel materials such as wood and cement, in particular used to give men’s rings an organic look.
“A lot of our designs are cutting edge – we tackle jobs that others say can’t be done,” David said.
Customers are encouraged to design their own rings, with the process of choosing the right stone taking the longest.
“There’s such a range in colour and clarity and this is such an important purchase, we allow people to ponder over the details.”
Customers who want to participate in the manufacturing process use a classic range of hand tools, in processes that are today unique to EverettBrookes in the Australian market.
“The customer will do the rough rolling and shaping of the metals and we get them involved in hammering, bending, filing and sawing,” David said. “The whole process is photographed, giving the couple something that can be cherished for years – the story of their romance that can be handed down to children and grandchildren.”
The awards judges also made mention of the firm’s other innovations, such as an effective social media presence and an on-premise liquor licence.
“This means we can serve a glass of champagne and we regularly hold charity nights for groups where we provide drinks and nibbles,” David said. “We show the process of traditional jewellery making, people get to handle the raw materials. We don’t charge and proceeds the organisers collect go to their chosen charity.”
Around 50 percent of engagement ring shoppers come in as a couple, the other 50 percent are surprise purchases.
“Our customers don’t need to be scared they might end up with a ring their partner might not like as we will rebuild it straight away,” said David.
The team exhibits at country field days throughout the State, making the service available to regional customers, who often drop by the shop when they’re in town.
“With online sales, we say ‘bring it on’,” Ian added. “What we do is unique – we feel lucky that we work directly with our customers and they are part of the design process.
“A couple proposed in the shop once and we’ve had customers in tears because they’ve been so happy with the rings they’ve selected.
“The reason they’ve come with us is that they know we care about their rings as much as they do.”
About the Jewellery Industry Awards
The inaugural Jewellery Industry Awards were conceived to celebrate the contribution of individuals and businesses in the retail industry. Nominations in all categories opened on November 1, 2013, and entries were submitted in their hundreds.
Judging the awards were an independent panel of highly respected experts:
Coleby Nicholson – Editor, Jeweller Magazine; Katrina Marchioni – President, Gemmological Association of Australia; Deb Templar – Australian Retail Marketing Specialist; and Ann Middleton – OAM, Diamonds International Award Winner. Judges details: